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Mastodons rally to drop Bison men

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The head coach feels that a certain special quality is missing from the North Dakota State men's basketball team. And if a lineup shake-up is needed to get the team back on track, then one could be coming.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The head coach feels that a certain special quality is missing from the North Dakota State men's basketball team. And if a lineup shake-up is needed to get the team back on track, then one could be coming.

On Thursday night, the Bison dropped their third straight game, losing to Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne 75-66 in Summit League play.

NDSU head coach Saul Phillips after the game hinted at potential changes to the team's lineup after watching the Bison squander a lead late in the second half.

"There's a little something that makes a special team special," Phillips said. "We're getting there, but the other team is getting there a step quicker."

The Bison were up 55-50 with 10 minutes left. But IPFW stormed back, going on a 14-0 run. Michael Kibiloski's layup with 6:33 left put IPFW ahead for good at 56-55.

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"I thought we'd be a little hungry," Phillips said of his team entering Thursday on a losing streak. "We step up and become men or we get our lunch money taken from us."

IPFW shot 54 percent from the floor and made 50 percent of its

3-point attempts.

Frank Gaines led the Mastodons with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bison were down four at halftime, but they went up by as much as five points midway through the second half before the lead slipped away.

"It's disappointing because we haven't always played perfect this year," Phillips said. "I always thought we had a bit of fight in us. ... Tonight, I don't know. I thought they got a lot more loose balls and a lot more rebounds that could have gone either way."

Phillips said he planned to "comb over" the game tape Thursday night and make personnel changes if needed prior to Saturday's game at Oakland (Mich.).

"Some of the guys that haven't been playing, maybe it's time they need to step up," he said. "Decisions will be made at 3:30 this morning when I'm not sleeping. I can promise you that."

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For the box score, see Scoreboard on Page D2.

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